ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — To celebrate the 246th Marine Corps Birthday, the Prescott Foundation held a ceremony at Hangar 743 with a special moment. Two World War II Marines received their first set of dress blue uniforms.
As the saying goes, once a Marine, always a Marine. However, 96-year-old Ambrose Anderson said Wednesday was different.
“Today, and when they gave this to me, it was just, it fulfilled something for me,” Anderson said. “Now, I’m a Marine.”
Anderson and his fellow Marine Nils Mockler fought in the harrowing battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Mockler just calls his new friend Anderson “Cowboy.”
“We didn’t meet until a year ago, and he’s one of my remaining brothers,” Mockler said.
During wartime, the pristine dress uniform wasn’t standard issue, and these Marines couldn’t afford the expense.
Anderson said, as one of only 20,000 African Americans that served in the Marine Corps at the time, he wasn’t permitted to participate in guard duty or the ceremonies that would call for the dress uniform.
But the Prescott Foundation and a local menswear store changed that. They donated the duo’s first dress blues, and a tailor from Mark Thomas Men’s Apparel gifted the perfect fit as well.
“I always wanted the blues; they’re really a nice uniform,” Anderson said. “I feel great with it on. I just feel great.”
Anderson said when he leaves this earth, now, he’ll be complete.
“It never occurred to me how uncomfortable they were. And I can look at Cowboy say, yeah, damnit, that’s a beautiful uniform.”